Getting it right in 2014: 5 trends to master (part 1)

2013 was a great year for marketing innovation. Email continued to reinvent itself to change consumer behaviors. Consumers were introduced to the concept of sending money via email using Square Cash and Google Wallet. Video became more commonplace for brands via live streaming, animated GIFs and sophisticated integration of Vine, YouTube and Instagram. Mobile also went beyond phones and tablets to wearable devices with the likes of Samsung’s watch and Google Glass.

In this two-part series I’ll share five trends marketers need to master in 2014 to convert and retain high-value customers.

  1. Email Gets More Friends. Email remains one of the most powerful and successful channels for engagement, especially when it comes to driving consumers to brand social sites. Thus social networks are attempting to get closer to email. Rumors and marketing sources are abuzz that Instagram will be providing email addresses to create new contact and integration options. Meanwhile, Facebook continues to embrace email with ads that trigger email offer codes.

Brands are adding more social icons to their email promotions on a daily basis and are making the social connection in more creative ways.
Google is also making strides to more closely align ads with email. Google ads can now be expanded to appear in Gmail as a full email that can be saved and forwarded directly from a consumer’s inbox. While this hasn’t yet taken off, this concept is something to watch throughout 2014 as channels continue to work together to increase overall results.

Why is all of this important? Brands need to understand and adapt to how consumers are using email and digital media holistically. Email can no longer survive and thrive in a silo. To remain relevant and keep consumers engaged, brands need to continue to make email interactive in an omnichannel environment. Brands that integrate seamlessly will see higher success metrics across all channels.

  1. Email or Text?—Worlds Begin to Collide. Today email has many looks. The Hop (previously Ping) email app brings simplicity and conversation capabilities to email. Hop transforms emails into conversations rather than threads and attachments, which can sometimes get messy. The app supports real-time messaging, document and photo sharing as well as voice and video calls. Hop essentially converts emails into real-time back-and-forth communications, making consumers want to respond to emails more often.

This collision of SMS, push messaging and email will impact how brands use each of these channels. Email will need to be optimized and continue to evolve into more of a conversation. Savvy marketers are going to take advantage of learned behaviors and technology to simplify consumer interactions and build relationships. It’s imperative that we start planning and testing now for these changes to be ahead of the curve.

See trends 3-5 here

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